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Entries in Cinematography (285)

Thursday
Apr132017

Michael Ballhaus (1935-2017)

by Nathaniel R

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus. The 81 year old artist was a crucial figure in making me the movie maniac that I am today. Michelle Pfeiffer on the piano top in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) -- hell the entire movie -- being a defining image in my life, after which I went from enthusiastic regular moviegoer to celluloid-devouring obsessive.

Ballhaus had retired after Martin Scorsese's The Departed (2006) making only one German movie in the last decade of his life and we had hoped each year that he'd be announced as an Honorary Oscar recipient. His three scant nominations -- The Fabulous Baker Boys, Broadcast News, and Gangs of New York -- do no justice to his long and gorgeous career. That's because they don't feel representative of his career as a whole and because, apart from his crowning glory (Baker Boys -- which ought to have walked away with Cinematography in just about any year, let alone 1989) aren't even his best work.

Ballhaus and Fassbinder worked together all through the 70s

Ballhaus got his start as a young man of 24 in German television but quickly graduated to features...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr122017

Cinematography, Production Design, Editing ~ April Foolish Oscar Predix

We're almost to our favorite craft category (costume design) and the marquee categories (acting/picture) are yet to come but here's another does of "what could be" in a few visual categories as our April Foolish Oscar Predictions continue...

Mudbound was shot by Rachel Morrison, who was previously DP on Fruitvale Station and Dope. Next up: Marvel's Black Panther

CINEMATOGRAPHY [click for the chart]
The big question TFE must always ask is "when is a female DP ever going to get nominated?" This year we count three female DPs with major projects: Mandy Walker (Australia, Hidden Figures) shot the romantic drama The Mountain Between Us, Rachel Morrison (Fruitvale Station) delivered another Sundance hit with Mudbound, and Urszula Pontikos (Lilting) was behind the camera on the story of Gloria Grahame's last days called Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Meanwhile on the male side of the equation, given that Greig Fraser and Bradford Young were FINALLY nominated last season after years of impressive rangey work, can the same thing happen for Hoyt Van Hoytema who has been waiting just as long. He shot Dunkirk this year.

PRODUCTION DESIGN 
Two mini-dramas within this race might be Production Designers at war with themselves. Four time nominee Sarah Greenwood has two high profile films, one fantasy (Beauty and the Beast) and one World War II drama (Darkest Hour). Three time nominee Nathan Crowley's films are less diametrically opposed but there's still plenty of room to showcase his range from the period circus musical The Greatest Showman and yet another collaboration with Chris Nolan on the World War II drama Dunkirk. Neither have ever won. Could this be the year for one of them? 

FILM EDITING
Arguably the category that's most dependent on the Best Picture race (give or take an action movie or thriller now and then) so this is like throwing darts at a wall about which films will have Best Picture heat and which could be the type of films that are honored for editing without that boost. 

Previous first stabs at new Oscar predictions
BEST SCORE, BEST SOUND
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS, BEST MAKEUP & HAIR
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE 

Tuesday
Mar072017

Second Take: François Ozon's Ravishing "Frantz"

Editor's Note: Nathaniel previously reviewed Frantz at TIFF. Now with its US release a week away, here's Eric with a second look.

Frantz, director François Ozon’s most recent picture, opens in limited release in one week and is also part of Lincoln Center’s current "Rendezvous with French Cinema" series.  Ozon is one of France’s most profilic filmmakers (he makes a film almost every year), and he’s given us many fine pictures, including the Charlotte Rampling chillers Swimming Pool and Under the Sand, the actressy 8 Women, and his deepest film, Time to Leave.  But Ozon has never made a film as ravishing and complete as Frantz.

This film, which was nominated for 11 César Awards and won the Cinematography prize at the ceremony, contains a simple story which keeps unfolding in complex and surprising ways....

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb212017

Podcast Pre-Oscar Show. What Are We Rooting For?

Katey (with her little Charlie in tow) rejoins Nathaniel and Nick to discuss our hopes for Oscar night and various mini conversations on Moana, Moonlight, Arrival, La La Land, Suicide Squad, and many more...

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Animated, Screenplays
08:30 Cinematography, Costumes
16:11 Production Design, Editing
21:00 VFX, Makeup, Score, Song, Sound
30:00 Actor, Supporting Acting
38:00 Documentaries, Actress
41:08 Musical sign-off silliness!

With of course much name dropping and detours including Hacksaw Ridge, JK Rowling, Annette Bening, Viola Davis, Weiner, Janelle Monae, and Michael Shannon. 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Pre-Oscar Show Pt 2: What we're rooting for

Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Greig Fraser talks "Lion," his shifting style, and Jane Campion

Here's one mystery solved: Greig Fraser isn't pronounced any sort of fancy way. It's merely "Greg" with a silent extra "i". If you want to say it perfectly, though, you'll have to say it with an Aussie accent, mate.

We've been singing the praises of the cinematographer Greig Fraser for 8 years now, even if we often pronounced his name wrong while doing so. After the visually jaw-dropping calling card of Bright Star (2009) one of the new century's most undervalued and most transcendentally beautiful movies, his name appeared more and more regularly in major prestige films. Curiously though, despite his ever broadening range (he's aced virtually every genre he's hopped to and front) and quite a few critically lauded and Oscar nominated movies under his belt, he is just now enjoying his very first Oscar nomination for his evocative and resourceful lensing of the Australian hit and Best Picture nominee Lion.

Fraser (top left), Sunny Pawar, and director Garth Davis on the set of Lion

I was eager to talk to him about his ability to tackle any genre, his time with Jane Campion and the challenge of Lion. Here's our interview...

 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb072017

Q&A: Overhyped Loveables, Depression Coping Tactics, and Best Foreign Film 

Happy Hump Day Almost! Why do some weeks feel so much like surviving itself is the only goal / triumph? I have let the Q&A column go but we're getting back on the horse and will try to do them more regularly. Here are seven questions from last week and two from a long time ago.

Ready? Let's go! Questions about awards seasons calendar, Brie Larson, director/cinematographer teams, and coping with depression after the jump...

Click to read more ...